Missing Disney film which predates Mickey Mouse resurfaces in Japan

Neck n Neck

A long-lost Disney relic has been rediscovered in Japan, according to Japanese media sources.

Entitled Neck & Neck, the two minute short features Oswald The Lucky Rabbit - the character Walt Disney first had success with, before he created Mickey Mouse.

Watanabe did not realize how significant his purchase was until he read a book titled "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons" many decades later.

The discovery was reported by Japan's Asahi Shimbun daily, which Watanabe contacted after reading a book about the history of "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit", the character Disney created in the 1920s.

The book claimed that seven of the 26 short films drawn by Walt had gone missing and one of them turned out to be Mr Watanabe's. Of course, any animations Disney did of Oswald are now incredibly valuable, and several have always been thought to be lost.

In the short film, Oswald and his girlfriend are in a vehicle being chased by a dog police officer on a motorcycle.

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Yasushi Watanabe, 84, bought the film from a toy wholesaler in Osaka when he was a teenager, paying only ¥500 (£3.45 at current exchange rates).

"We're absolutely delighted to learn that a copy of the lost film exists", Becky Cline, director of Walt Disney Archives, told the newspaper. Right after the meeting with Mintz in which he lost control of Oswald, Disney chose to come up with a new character that he would own himself - and that character was Mickey Mouse.

Neck "n" Neck is one of 27 cartoons made as part of the series, which became embroiled in an intellectual property dispute that resulted in Disney forfeiting the rights for Oswald the Rabbit to Universal Studios.

The video: The video - which was labeled "Mickey Manga Spide" or Mickey Cartoon Speedy - shows a dog police officer chasing down Oswald and his girlfriend in a auto.

Watanabe's copy of Neck "n" Neck is being kept at Kobe Planet Film Archive, which has more than 16,000 titles in its library. In 2014, a copy of the missing cartoon "Empty Socks" was found in the Norwegian National Library during an inventory, and in 2015, the British Film Archives discovered that it had a copy of a 6-minute 1927 Oswald short called "Sleigh Bells".

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